Red Deer City Councillor Dianne Wyntjes is seeking a study into the feasibility of a hybrid police model for Red Deer.
Wyntjes submitted a Notice of Motion in December, asking for council direction to have administration research the prospects of City cops serving alongside federal Mounties. City Manager Craig Curtis said the vote to direct administration will be taken at Monday’s council meeting.
“I want to be clear that I recognize the wonderful work the RCMP is doing, but this is a way to augment our policing and safety in our community,” said Wyntjes. “If we don’t explore it, we’re leaving something on the table that we might regret.”
There are a number of reasons why she wants to look into supplementing RCMP service.
This year’s citizen survey by Ipsos Reid identified crime as the top priority. As well, Statistics Canada ranks Red Deer at the top of the province in its Crime Severity Index.
“All of us have seen the data that’s been released about the safety (of) our City. I think our location, between Edmonton and Calgary, that’s never going to change, we’re always going to have that movement of crime between Central Alberta,” Wyntjes said.
Curtis said the City’s model has RCMP contracted for general policing with other duties provided by municipal employees.
“The question of hybrid policing is exploring how we could operate with perhaps a different composition of what is municipal and what is (RCMP),” he said.
The City must provide notice of changes to its police service agreement by March of each year.
Red Deer has considered forming its own police force in the past. But in 2011, council decided to stick with the RCMP. However, a hybrid option was not studied in detail, reads Wyntjes’ Notice of Motion.
It becomes more difficult and expensive for a community to start its own police service the larger it gets, she said.
“If you’ve got a small number of employees, that transition is fairly easy. If you’ve got a larger number, equipment etcetera, there are more issues to deal with,” Curtis said.